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Profiles of creative and engaged fathers

Interviews with creative and engaged Fathers by Blackframes.com.au

Filtering by Category: Australia

Tim Diamond is a Humanitarian

Lach Ryan

Tim Diamond is a man leading an amazing effort to change the lives of young people in Uganda through his work with the Cotton On Foundation. The team do some amazing work in southern Uganda, helping to bring hope to communities where it may not have otherwise existed.

For the past couple of years I have had the opportunity to witness the impact Tim and his team have with the work they do, working alongside them. It wasn’t until a recent work trip to LA that I got to know Tim a bit better. I think any guy who is willing to give up his last night of a trip to the States to go shopping for Air Jordans for his kids Kobe, Cruz and Harper, is worthy of a Blackframes appearance. He is an advocate, fundraiser, humanitarian and likes to think he can still dunk.

Meet Tim.
— Lach
"We really can’t underplay the role of men in the community, particularly the example they set." Tim Diamond

"We really can’t underplay the role of men in the community, particularly the example they set." Tim Diamond

Your first reaction when you found out you were going to be a Father?

Elation. 

Celeste and I were told not to expect children due to her endometriosis. So we were super excited. Unfortunately a miscarriage was awaiting us. But soon after we had three little boys in almost three years. It was awesome and unexpected.
 

What has Fatherhood taught you?

Don't sweat the small things. You've got such an amazing team, that love you and will be with you through thick and thin. Everyday I walk in the door, I'm thankful - even when there's three little boys screaming and wrestling on the ground fighting over a toy, two in their jocks and one dressed as Yoda (it's a bit of a mad house).
 

Did you grow up always wanting to have kids someday?

Yes. For me friendship, brotherhood (I have three brothers) and family are such an important part of my life. We grew up in a busy house and with busy community lives. 
 

Tell us about a time when you felt you had no idea what you were doing as a Father? Were you scared?

I think through the 'sleep deprivation' years it's so hard and you can sympathise with new parents. It's really tough, and sometimes hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. 


What is the best thing you have achieved as a Father?

Learning patience. In a busy world, it's natural to want your child to 'be the best they can be', to have all the experiences you didn't have and to give them the world.  Just patience in letting them discover their own world. 

What does having kids make you think differently about?

The world in general feels different. Particularly in my role, I find myself thinking about children that don't have all the opportunity and safety of my boys. Kids that are the same age, that don't have parents or someone to look after them and love them. That plays on my mind a lot. 


What do you miss about the time before you were a Father?

Independence. Adventure. Although, I love the fact that it's a different adventure now. You can be more of a child too - get down to their level and see the world through their eyes.

Tell us about the work of the Cotton On Foundation and how you came to be involved?

Since 2007, Cotton On Foundation has raised funds in all Cotton On Group stores and used those funds to develop communities across the globe, primarily focusing on children's education. 
Our work is quite unique. Global retailers don't usually start their own NGO, but we also run our development work with a direct focus on relationships.  Knowing and understanding the communities and people we work with is essential. We started off raising around $150,000 in our first year, we now raise around $10m globally - and apply those funds to eradicating poverty. 

We also have a host of local projects in Australia through our 'Community Projects' arm. I've been a part of the business since 2006, but really by chance. Nigel, the owner of Cotton On Group was kind enough to give me a go back then and things have worked out.

Having travelled regularly to Uganda and Africa, what has it taught you about life?

Be grateful - we're privileged where we live and the opportunities that we have. And have no judgement. It's easy for us in life to judge without knowing or understanding people's circumstances. 

What impact do the local Men and Fathers have on communities in Uganda?

They have a huge impact - often with negative results such as family violence, lack of motivation, substance abuse and infidelity. That was really evident through our early years. 

We've since seen amazing progression from local Fathers, setting great examples, starting new businesses, farm production has increased, they take HIV awareness classes and adult literacy classes and they're more proactive in their children's education. The new group of young men emerging show great potential of being more active, and engaging family members.  

We really can’t underplay the role of men in the community, particularly the example they set. When we look at Uganda being a country of children (48% aged 16 & under), we’re working with an influential and important generation that will bring the country out of poverty.

Having kids of your own, how do you handle the emotional side of what your work exposes you to?

It's really hard. I know what it takes to raise three children, but when I see a ten year old boy having to look after his little brother and sister - that's hard. His parents lost to HIV, lack of clean water, not knowing where the next meal will come from... That's a common story in Uganda and whilst it's tough to witness time and time again - it's also an incredible motivator.  No child deserves to live like that. 

You have taken your Kids to Mannya (Uganda) before- how do you think this has helped shape their worldview?

Honestly, I think they're too young to actually fathom it. But what I believe is that the experience will stay with them and help shape their personalities. Just seeing firsthand how other children live over there has given them knowledge and understanding that they never had. They also now know where Daddy goes when he has to leave home.

Tell us about the type of life you want to create for your family?

Live simply. Encourage adventure and follow your dreams 


Where do you find inspiration?

 My work is inspiring, on a daily basis - I get to work with and meet some amazing individuals. My wife is incredible, and my family really rounds out my life - I couldn't do my work without them.

What are your strongest memories of your own Father from when you were a kid?

He was hard but fair. Strong willed, incredible businessman, hard worker.  Whilst he was busy, he was always there for me, and he showed me the importance of family. Times get tough, there'll be ups and downs, but work on it and stick together. 

He's also the most generous person I've met. 

Do you think he did a good job?

He did. It was a different era too, back then, bringing up four boys, it was so much different to today. He also really changed as he got older - showing more affection, emotion, and talking openly about the important things in life - that helped my growth as a young man. 


As a Father, what do you see as your biggest challenge ahead?

 Bringing up confident, self respecting and genuine young men. I think it's the same challenges as every parent - and it's a strange, shifting environment with worldly access now (internet and social media), the impact of drugs, expectations, and social politics for young people. It's a big challenge. 

What is your Fatherhood philosophy?

I love to teach through experiences, interact with my kids through activity. Tell stories, create adventure and just try and have fun. 


How do you want your kids to remember you?

That I truly love them. 


What do you think is the most important role of Fathers in today’s world?

 I can't nail one and I constantly work at these to be a better dad:

- Give them time and be involved 

- Listen to them 

- Praise them and show affection 

- Be great to their mother 

- They're always watching - set an example 
 

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Support the work of the Cotton On Foundation by purchasing any Foundation product in Cotton On Group stores or check out www.cottononfoundation.org

Follow Tim on Twitter @timjdiamond and Insta @timjdiamond
Read along on Tumblr matesonajourney.tumblr.com

 

Zach Sanders is a Photographer

Lach Ryan

Zach Sanders’ work kept coming across my eyeballs on social media at the beginning of this year. I eventually followed along and was served up a constant array of amazing images, captured fresh off the ocean. Zach captures a unique perspective of his part of the world, also known as Norfolk Island. In our correspondence he has struck me as a really creative, caring and chilled out dude. A committed family man, he is dad to young Charlie and is living his own version of the dream life on his island farm.
Meet Zach
— Lach
"If you feel inspired from looking at one of my images, then I have done a good job." Zach Sanders

"If you feel inspired from looking at one of my images, then I have done a good job." Zach Sanders

Your first reaction when you found out you were going to be a Father?

It was actually a bit of disbelief, excitement, then “oh what have we done!” but in a good way.

What Fatherhood has taught you?

I guess fatherhood has taught me the value of life and how precious these little people are. I would also have to say it teaches you that life is not all about you. You have a family that comes first whereas when you don’t have kids, everything seems to be about you.

What is the most challenging part of being a Father?

Time management is what I find the most challenging. I work a full time job and try to do my photos on the side, as well as my partner having her own business on a dairy goat farm making cheese, so time is the most challenging thing. Especially because we are such a close little family and do everything together!

What is the most rewarding part?

Everything! Seeing them smile, laugh, learn - it really is the most rewarding part. When I hear my little man laugh is just melts my heart.

What is the best thing you have achieved as a Father?

Well Charlie is only two so I don’t think I have achieved too much yet… that might be a good question in about 10 years.

What does having kids make you think differently about?

Everything! I think as soon as Charlie was born I kind of grew up (if that’s such a thing). Everything revolves around what you are going to be doing as a family, not as a single person. You have a huge responsibility now so you have to be thinking about the best for them.

What do you miss about the time before you were a Father?

I can honestly say nothing at all. To tell you the truth I can’t really remember what it was like without Charlie and I don’t think I ever want to.


Tell us about a time when you felt you had no idea what you were doing as a Father? Where you scared?

The moment Charlie was born haha!  Em and I hadn’t really had anything to do with kids before Charlie, so when he was born it was like “Oh now what, how do we do this?” So yeah, you could say I was pretty scared.

Tell us about your how you came be a Photographer?

I always loved photography but as I was always chasing surf, I never had any money as I always worked any job just so I could get in the water. This eventually made me move back home to Norfolk Island having no money. I managed to save for some camera equipment when I was diagnosed with quite bad depression and getting out and shooting in the water took my mind off everything. So from there on it just became my passion and what I loved doing.

What do you try to capture with each photo?

Just the natural beauty of whatever I am shooting. If you feel inspired from looking at one of my images, then I have done a good job.


Dream project you’d love to work on?

We are actually working really hard on our dream at the moment which is to be living on the farm and having fresh goats’ cheese and a café and a gallery for my photos. It has been a lot of hard work but I think anything worth much is always hard work at the beginning.

How do you find living and working in such a remote place like Norfolk Island?

It is my home and where I was born so its not hard at all. I have lived probably over half my life in Oz and I think the more you are away from Norfolk, the more you appreciate it. I moved back home about 8 years ago and at first found it a little hard and had to get away at least twice a year but now that everything we are working for is at home, there really is no need to get away other than to travel which me and my partner love. Norfolk is a really special place and blows me away every day, so it is a pleasure to live here.

What's a typical day look like for you...

Get up between 5.30-6am in the morning and look after Charlie until I go to work at the airport. Work at the airport from 8-4 then come home to my little family. If the waves are really good I’ll go shoot from the water or if its in summer every now and then get out in the boat and shoot some spearfishing or just the ocean.

Tell us about the type of life you want to create for your family?

Just a happy healthy lifestyle. We live on a small island, so just to work on our land, surf together, swim together, eat fresh produce off our land - that sounds good to me. We also want to travel with him a lot and let him see other places and cultures. I think that’s really important to open their perspectives up.

Where do you find inspiration?

I have thought about this one a lot and I can honestly say I’m not to sure…Every day life I guess.

What are your strongest memories of your Dad from when you were a kid?

My parents split up when I was about one years old. My dad had always been a heavy drinker so I don’t have too many…

Do you think he did a good job?

I think he could have done a lot better! But you know for me, this has made me even more driven to be the best dad I can. I really want my kids to look up to me and enjoy their dad and remember all the great things we have done together.

As a Father, what do you see your biggest challenge ahead?

Teaching Charlie how to be handy because I’m the least handy person in the world.

How do you want your kids to remember you?

Loving, fun, supportive and probably most of all - someone they can look up to.

Why do you think the role of Fathers is so important in today’s world?

I’m not to sure as I think single parents can do just as good a job, like my Mum did for me though being a male it would have been awesome to have that father figure there to look up to and want to be just like them.

Andy Sargent is a Designer

Lach Ryan

Andy Sargent is someone I met during a past Marketing job. His was the design agency responsible for making the brand look pretty and I was the client. During that time I learnt that not only was he a savvy design thinker who didn’t care too much for trade show stands, but a genuinely nice human. I also recalled him being an engaged Dad, regularly talking with enthusiasm about his kids and running marathons.

Since leaving that role, I have come across his work in many realms. Friends of mine who are designers quickly turn into fan-boys at the mention of his studio South South West’s name.

I wanted to get an insight into his parenting style with Otto and Coco, and how creativity plays a part in his life as a Father and Designer.

Meet Andy.
— Lach
" I’m not a believer in luck or fate, so I think opportunities and happiness can be cultivated and created by providing the right environment and grounding." Andy Sargent

" I’m not a believer in luck or fate, so I think opportunities and happiness can be cultivated and created by providing the right environment and grounding." Andy Sargent

Photography by Toby De Lorenzo Just Like Frank

Your first reaction when you found out you were going to be a Dad? 

I was 21 at the time so as you can imagine it was overwhelming for the first few months or so, but at the same time exciting of course.

How was the experience of birth, from your perspective as an on-looker?

Incredible. Something that is hard to put into words.

Describe those first few days at home with a new baby...

The first few days after each of our children were born were very similar.  After the birth I felt like my feet were barely touching the ground. I remember the first few days at home as being pivotal in the sudden realisation that it’s all very real, and that even though you really don’t have any training or advice for every aspect of parenting, it’s instinctively within us all to look after one another and our children.

What HAS Fatherhood taught you?

Fatherhood has offered me perspective. Being a father so young, at the time when most people are jumping around quite a lot without too many commitments, I feel as though having that perspective and enormous responsibility helped shape me, prioritise and understand who my true friends were/are. Fatherhood has also taught me to be patient, that nothing is perfect and that things don’t always go your way. 

What is the most challenging part of being a Father so far?

Balancing time. Learning to be patient. Always trying to lead by example. Not using the car horn too much.

What is the most rewarding part?

The most rewarding part is having the privilege of raising two amazing children and watching them grow, learn and develop daily. Right now, this year, one of the highlights of my week is coaching Otto’s basketball team who are all around the same age. It’s really rewarding helping them learn to work as a team, support one another and develop their games.

What does having kids make you think differently about?

Priorities. What’s really important in life. What experiences are genuine and formative and which ones are transient or of no consequence.

Photography by Toby De Lorenzo Just Like Frank

Tell us about your agency South South west?

SouthSouthWest started almost 8 years ago as a three-way partnership between myself, Jonathan Price and Adam Gibson. We all studied together at University of Tasmania and had loosely discussed the potential to working together in the future. We all took different paths within Fine Art degrees including graphic design, painting, photography and printmaking ,all of which remain fundamental to the studio today. These days, Jonathan and I are still running the studio and are lucky enough to have eight or so super talented employees as well. 

What have been some your favourite briefs to date?

This is a really hard one but the one single brief that springs to mind was for the Nike Identity and event experience for the 2013 NBA All Star weekend. The brief was incredibly inspiring and challenging and at the time was our biggest, most public example of capability we had been briefed on. At the end of the day the brief was “imagine a 16 year old kid who’s crazy about basketball, think about what would totally blow his mind”.I’m still really proud of the outcome despite the work being a couple of years old now.

Because we work with a full range of projects and people, big and small, there are also many other smaller projects that are up there including a recent project for a new custom engineered cycling company by a group of passionate riders and engineers. 

How do you balance running a business and family?

It’s tough, but there are also big advantages. My wife also runs her own business and does an amazing job as the ‘primary’ carer at this stage. We’re lucky we can control our workloads (to a degree!) as well as plan to be flexible around school holidays and family holidays.

You are based in Fitzroy, Melbourne. Why do you think that area of the world seems to be such a creative and cultural hot spot?

Fitzroy and Collingwood are great, there are a lot of creative studios in the area. There’s an industrious and entrepreneurial spirit in the creative scene. That is, there are a lot of people doing inspiring work of all types. I think what has traditionally driven the influx of creatives is cheaper rents, hopefully those days aren’t over.

You do some design work in Botswana – tell us about how that came to be... 

We had a joint venture company in Botswana for a few years working on some large branding projects across the government, tourism and education sectors. A friend and business mentor of mine, who is a strong advocate for design, was leading a trade mission to South Africa and Botswana and talked me into taking part. It was a great experience to design for an entirely different culture, particularly in Botswana which is a leading example of  a well governed, rapidly developing African nation. These days we are more focused on the US and a growing list of companies we work with there. 

What in your opinion is good design?

There are so many different conditions that determine what good design is, but some of the more simple are:

Design that’s invisible. Design that functions and communicates so well that it doesn’t overpower the medium or the message.

Design that makes you smile. A lot more subjective but something I look for in design and process. I generally think if the designer has enjoyed the process and the creation, the enjoyment will show in the work.

Design you can feel. Design that makes you feel something, tells you a story, takes you somewhere, moves you. Again fairly subjective.

What has design taught you that you’d want to pass onto your kids?

The process of design itself requires discipline, patience, understanding, practice and creativity which are all good things to be able to pass on. More broadly, I’d love to be able to pass onto my kids the ability to find a job/career/calling they are passionate about and the potential for them to pursue it as a career. 

Photography by Toby De Lorenzo Just Like Frank

What are your strongest memories of your Dad?

My dad was incredibly supportive of me and the choices I made as a kid. He would always make time, regardless of the time of the day or the weather , to bowl to me in the nets, coach my soccer team, teach me and train me to play rugby and all the general running around involved in being a sporty kid. His style of parenting was probably more subtle than I think I am with my kids, but I always knew he was in my corner. 

Do you think he did a good job? 

He did and he still does. I had a great childhood and as adults, we’re great mates. 

What was the best thing he ever taught you?

A moment in particular that sticks with me is when the recession hit in the 80’s and he went through a bit of a rough patch career-wise. I remember how it seemed to effect him and how he bounced back which I can totally understand and relate to now. Both my parents have always worked really hard which I admire them for and have learnt from. 

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF FATHERS TODAY?

It seems like it’s more accepted that Dads are allowed to show love, passion, sensitivity and fragility more than they once might have, which i think is positive and healthy for children to see. I feel there is more awareness of both parents being less defined by gender,  combining or interchanging roles and duties that might have traditionally been defined by gender. 

what do you see your biggest challenge ahead?

It’s hard to know but I know there will be many. As our children have grown there have always been little phases of growth/transition/development to negotiate. Being the best father and role model for my children and providing them with as many opportunities in life is probably pretty high on the list. Specifically for my son, teaching him what it means to be a modern man is also right up there.

What are the key things you want or hope for, for your kids?

Happiness and opportunities would be the biggest hopes. I’m not a believer in luck or fate, so I think opportunities and happiness can be cultivated and created by providing the right environment and grounding. 

What do you think is the most important thing every Father should aim to achieve?

I think this is deeply personal and scalable beyond comprehension so I think it’s best to keep it as simple as always being in the moment.

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South South West
 southsouthwest.com.au

Michael Moore is a Barber

Lach Ryan

I first met Michael Moore at a party. It was his son’s 2nd birthday and everyone was high on food colouring rather than drunk from wine. We connected straight away; bonding over a love of coffee and a youth spent listening to punk rock.

Father to Charlie and Josephine, Mikey is a little man but has huge personality and drive. We’ve become quite tight and he’s my go-to Dad friend, always up for a coffee trek and good conversation.

I wanted to kick-off the profiles with Michael as he’s such an interesting and cool guy. I’ve seen firsthand how engaged he is as a Father and we often speak about the current approach we are taking with our kids, trying to stay a step ahead of them.

Where he was once on-track for a big corporate career in the hotel world, he now has found his passion working as a Barber where he can finally let all that impressive ink get some air.

He’s passionate about good fades, good coffee, his bike, his babe and his babies. He’s the perfect guy to kick off the Blackframes profiles.

Meet Michael.
— Lach

"...find a good barber. And once you do, grow old together." Michael Moore

Q. Tell us about your first reaction when you found out you were going to be a Father?

Expressions of ‘F**K, F**K, F**K!’ before emotions of flat out denial. This was of course superseded with euphoria but only after the cold sweat had subsided. 

Hardly the picture perfect start to family life, but in hindsight the best inception a father could ask for given the calamity that is my children.

Q. What is the most rewarding part of being a Father?

Man, I cant even begin to describe.

Q. So what is your Fatherhood philosophy?

Be present

Q. Does having kids make you think differently about stuff?

Happiness and how it can be found in the bottom of an empty box. It blows my mind that our children, armed only with a sunny disposition and a lick of creativity, have everything they need to have a good day. Think about it - why does this change? I now try to treat every day like an empty box and make what you will of it. Deep right! 

Q. What has Fatherhood taught you so far?

To stay present in all moments. For example - never leave the house without saying a genuine goodbye to each other. It breaks my heart to think that so many people are lost daily and never took the chance to stop to say a genuine goodbye to their kids and loved one.

Don't be slave to routine and haste - take that moment each and every time it comes, as it pays dividends in the end. 

Q. What is the most challenging part of being a Father?

Being present at all times.

Q. What do you miss about the time before you were a Father?

I can truly say nothing. I loved my time then and I love my time now. It’s different good.

Q. Tell us about your how you came to be working as a barber?

I was losing touch, working ridiculous hours and generally failing to meet my single obligation as a Father: to be there. My career trajectory read like a book; white collar, big company and six figure salary. So safe and so white bread, but who for? 

I made moves and did what it took to change that. I became a barber because I wanted to. I have always been barbered and felt strongly about growing the trade. I’m highly passionate about tradition and grooming. It was the right fit. 

Q. Top three things a man can do to style his hair?

Just one - find a good barber. And once you do, grow old together.

Q. You’ve got a distinct look and style, so how would you describe the ‘culture’ you are trying to pass onto your kids?

Man, I have never even thought about that! I really just hope that they take pride in themselves and express that in the best way possible. 

Q. Tell us about a time when you felt you had no idea what you were doing as a Father? Were you scared?

This pertains to my eldest. The story begins at a much begrudged family reunion. After playing the rounds and many wet kisses later C.P and I decided to blow off some steam and hit up the little playground we had spied earlier in the day.

Like all good play sessions, things went off with out a hitch; we identified early the apparatus of choice, the friendliest dogs and the meanest kids. Steering clear of the latter we made for the A-frame. Things begun well with the standard one foot up, followed by one arm up and then repeat. Nothing out of the ordinary.

However, upon reaching the 3/4 mark, C.P made a misguided hand placement causing him to bump his head on the joinery.

Hardly the catastrophe and very much the routine but this thud had a different noise, or more worryingly, no noise at all. As I was already supporting C.P, I gently lifted him off the frame to inspect the collateral damage.

It was at this point that the status of being a dad melted right out of my feet. C.P had yet to scream, that was coming. At that moment he was still in a state of breathlessness. That moment before the shrill and for good reason.

Like a knife to butter, the edge of the climbing frame had opened my sons baby fresh skin open right above his left eye. Just like his missing cry, the raging wound was yet to weep. But it was all coming. In an instant the wail was released and like the Trevi fountain, my sons forehead exploded with blood gushing over his entire face and toddler fresh attire. Garh.

Long story straight - I dealt with the entire moment with a clinical precision, stopping the bleeding, calming the patient, reducing the swelling and seeking further care. But that's not the point.  The point being that this was the first time in my life where the person at hand did not need my expertise, my council, my further recommendations.

No, this was the first time in my life that someone just needed me, my security, my reassurance, my being. Did I pass? I think so, but it was was not without intense fear of failure. This was the first time I genuinely felt that I was not qualified for the job*.

*Disclaimer - there have been many times since.

 

Q. What are your strongest memories of your Dad from when you were a kid?

I never lived with my Pa but I can vividly remember just feeling that he was invincible, the strongest man on earth.

Q. Do you think he did a good job?

Yeah absolutely. For better or worse both my parents set me on a path that I am incredibly grateful for.

Q. As a Father, what do you see your biggest challenge ahead?

Remaining present.

Q. How do you want your kids to remember you?

With good hair.

Q. What do you think is the role of Fathers today?

I’m not qualified to answer this.

Q. What do you think is the most important thing every Father should be doing?

Don't make me say it again - but just be in the moment with your children! I get that its not appropriate for every dad to quit their corporate obligations to become a full-time little league coach, but can you just put the phone down! Little Johnny doesn't get deadlines, but he knows when you’re not into him. If you’re looking for your next promotion, start with your kids! 


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Follow Michael on Insta: @mikey.slicks
Get cut at Uncle Rocco's Barber Shop, Port Melbourne uncleroccos.com.au @uncleroccos